When Maggie Carchrie voyaged to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, she hardly expected to discover a passion that would win her the U.S. Mòd Women's Championship in Gaelic Singing two years later. She was immediately enchanted by the traditional music of the region, planning her future travels around the areas of Cape Breton and Scotland and diving headfirst into the Celtic culture. With a college degree in music therapy and a resume that boasts subsequent studies at the Ceòlas Music School, she built a foundation for a life filled with award-winning Celtic performance and education. She lays claim to two albums, books several East Coast showcases throughout the year, and furthers the reach of Celtic stylings through the concerts and CDs of Mermaid Productions. Maggie draws from all of these experiences to act as director of the Callanish School of Celtic Arts. There, she instructs students of all ages in music, dance, and lyrical language, managing a non-competitive venue for guests to experiment with age-old harmonies and master a brogue without having to install a second tongue. From the high-stepping choreography of Scottish Highland Dance to the signature keening of the bagpipe, she outlines several levels of melodic techniques, all of which are steeped in rich history.
At The Scuba Shack, the staff’s family-oriented lessons encourage divers to take social rather than solo ventures into the blue beyond. Each instructor carries an impressive résumé of underwater travels—the head trainer has been diving for more than 20 years and others have logged more than 1,000 dives. Captaining PADI-certification courses and specialty seminars—which cover topics such as night diving, photography, and fish identification—they take groups on open-water excursions to area lakes and Clear Spring Scuba Park. They prioritize educating their charges with safe and enjoyable teachings, rather than monotonous quizzes on whether the bends is a serious health issue or a 1980s punk band. With trips to dive sites in Fiji and Mexico, they introduce divers to the visual wonder of reefs and aquatic wildlife throughout the world.
Realistic Physiques’ personal trainers build pragmatic portions of brawn and sensible amounts of sinew with individualized training programs. Led by licensed muscle molders, each one-hour training session (a $90 value each for the second and third sessions; first session complimentary) equips minds with proper technique and nutrition and lifestyle advice while bolstering bodies on advanced exercise and weight equipment. Each exerciser sweats to the tune of a customized workout plan, tailored for each client based on wellness goals, fitness levels, and Chinese zodiac sign.
The owners of Big Z Cleaners, Twin City Dry Cleaners, & Squeeky's Cleaners & Laundromat wash and dry-clean garments with environmentally friendly practices and a keen eye for detail honed over a span of 40 years. After dry-cleaning silk blouses, suits, or dress shirts stained with business-related marinara sauce, specialists press collars and cuffs and preserve their shapes with a customizable dose of starch. The team also carefully executes wash, dry, and fold services that conclude with exemplary folding and placement on hangers.
When she’s not teaching creative writing or crafting award-winning songs, Kate Callahan helps high school seniors channel their own creativity into college essays. A 12-year artist-in-residence in West Hartford public schools, Kate walks students through essay-writing step-by-step, from brainstorming to revision. Along the way, she shows pupils how to incorporate creative elements into their pieces, such as dialogue or building suspense. For students who already have an essay ready, Kate happily makes content or grammar suggestions during her one-on-one Skype or in-person sessions. Along with seniors, she extends her services to juniors, who can develop and refine their pieces a full year ahead of the application grind in senior year.
Ivy Bound Test Prep wants to send students away. To top-ranked schools, that is. During prep sessions, tutors help students identify and conquer academic issues, prepare for the rigors of upper education, and raise SAT and entrance-exam scores before they apply to Hunter high schools and top universities. By the end of the program, students often leave with exam scores boosted by up to 600 points and a better understanding of what major universities look for from an applicant. And if anyone knows what top-tier high schools and universities look for, it’s Ivy Bound's tutors; all of its instructors are licensed high-school teachers or college professors, with some hailing from Ivy League universities such as Harvard and Yale.